Book: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin Trilogy, Book 3)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Age Range: 13 and up
Mortal Heart is the final book in Robin LaFevers' fabulous His Fair Assassin trilogy. This installment is told from the viewpoint of Annith, fellow handmaiden to Death with prior protagonists Ismae and Sybella. As Mortal Hearts begins, Annith, who has spent her whole life preparing to serve the god Mortain, chafes at being kept at the convent, instead of being sent out on a mission as an assassin. When she learns that the Abbess intends to keep her at the convent forever, trained to be the Seeress who sends others out on missions, Annith rebels and escapes (though she still seeks to serve Mortain). Various adventures and revelations follow, as LaFevers brings the series to a conclusion.
I found Mortal Heart to have a nice balance of action and introspection. Annith is insecure in many ways, consumed with understanding her own place in the world, but she's also strong and capable. Like this:
"Keeping the knife clenched in my hand, I look up at her and allow every bit of anger and frustration I am feeling to show in my eyes. She blinks and leans imperceptibly back. Good, I think, then smile, a movement so brittle it is a wonder my cheeks do not shatter." (Page 57)
"And there it is. The threat I have lived with my entire life. I I am not good enough, kind enough, thoughtful enough, obedient enough, I will be cast from my home like a stunted fish from a fisherman's net." (Page 61)
"It is a terrifying thing to cross the sea at night, but I tell myself it is exhilarating. There is nothing but the glimmer of moonlight to steer by, and the sharp salt-scented breeze from the sea whistles past my ears, bringing a faint spray to my face." (Page 83)
I was pulled slightly out of the story by a reference that Annith makes to being asked to "run interference", which seems to me to be a more modern term than would have been used in 1489.But aside from this minor quibble, I thought that LaFevers continued her excellent job overlaying a real historical world and characters with a fantasy involving gods and special powers.
Mortal Heart has strong characters, a suspenseful, secret-filled plot, and an intriguing setting and premise. I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to a top-notch series. I highly recommend Mortal Heart for fans of the series. And, since the series is now complete, this would be a great time for new readers to immerse themselves in LaFevers' tale.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (@HMHBooks)
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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